Yeoman Warder Kester Knight was recently identified by Mr. Brian Prescott of Jade Publishing. The following information on Knight was kindly provided to soldiersofthequeen.com by Mr. Prescott and appears in the book Yeoman of the Guard.
Knight, Kester. Serjeant Major. Royal Sappers and Miners. No. 1249. Born 1827 at Haslemere, Surrey. He attested 12 May 1846 at Woolwich, by trade a carpenter, and served on Gibraltar for five years and eight months, in the Crimea and Turkey for two years and two months and in China for two years and nine months. He served in all for 22 years, 295 days to 2 March 1869 being discharged at Chatham to live at New Brompton.
His name did not appear in the Regimental Defaulters’ Book.
He was a Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London from 14 July 1878, vice Trumpet Major John Hatton, Royal Horse Guards. In 1881, he was living at the Broad Arrow Tower with his wife, Elizabeth, who had been born at Leigh, Essex, and one son, Edwin Thomas, who had been born at Chatham in 1865. In 1891, he was living at the Tower with a new wife, Mary Ann.
Medal group is known, sold at Glendining in 1965, and subsequently in the Matthew Taylor Collection: Queen’s Crimea (Inkermann and Sebastopol, Sgt), China 1857-60 (Taku Forts 1860 and Pekin 1860, Colour Serjeant), MSM (Awarded c.1869 with £10 annuity, for gallantry in China),
French Médaille Militaire and Turkish Crimea Medal. The only other Yeoman Warder entitled to the French Médaille Militaire was Serjeant Major Foley.
Knight appears to be the only Yeoman Warder entitled to the China Medal. The Meritorious Service Medal was only the 15th awarded to the Royal Sappers and Miners. His was one of only seven French War Medals to the Royal Sappers and Miners in the Crimean War. The citation for the French medal reads “Joined the Army at Scutari in May 1854. Present at every bombardment. Specially selected by Colonel Tylden for important daily duties in the trenches of the right attack, and was subsequently strongly recommended by him for promotion which he received.” In 1887, he was the senior RS&M and RE MSM annuitant. He died in Broad Arrow Tower and was buried at Bow on 11 June 1894 and was succeeded by Serjeant Major Johnston, Royal Sussex Regiment. C. ƒ * (104)
The C at the end of the above extract refers to Knight as having served in the Crimea. The f shows that Knight was one of 39 men who may have been present in January 1885 when a Fenian supporter exploded a bomb at the White Tower. The * indicates that his photograph is one of those contained in an album presented to the Duke of York, later King George V, in 1893 to commemorate his wedding to Mary of Teck. The number (104) denotes that Knight was the 104th Yeoman Warder appointed from the date (1823) when appointments were made from the ranks of former NCOs of the Army or Royal Marines. This new system was initiated by the Duke of Wellington, who was, for a period, the Constable of the Tower of London.
In the photograph Knight is standing in Water Lane not far from the Traitor's Gate in the Tower of London.
Cabinet Photograph (Trimmed)
William Wright, - Photographer
188-190 Bethnal Green Road, 98 Cheapside, 81 High Street, Whitechapel, 10 Upper Street Islington & 71 Green Lanes, Stoke,
Newington, London, England.